Lawyer, single mom finds solace in community aid during COVID-19 unemployment

first_imgABC NewsBy HALEY YAMADA, AUDE SOICHET, and MATT MCGARRY, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Liceny Espaillat has worked her entire life toward reaching the middle class and, as an immigration lawyer, she always thought she would be beyond the reach of poverty.But in an unexpected twist, as the coronavirus spread through the United States last year, Espaillat found herself in the middle of a divorce and suddenly without a job after the courts had shut down.“I went from almost up the ladder — I’m getting there, I’m almost there — and, all of a sudden, this happens, and that’s it, no more money,” Espaillat told “Nightline” five months after she had lost her job. “I had to file for bankruptcy because I had no other choice.”Watch the full story on “Nightline” TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABCSince then, Espaillat has been through a harrowing journey navigating the COVID-19 relief system. She struggled to stay afloat when the first round of federal supplement of $600 a week in unemployment benefits ran dry in July and then her unemployment benefits were altogether cancelled due to a system error.“If this is my life and I’m a lawyer — I have an education, you know, I’m smart, I know where to look for resources — and I’m struggling, what about those other people that didn’t have the luxury to go to college?” said Espaillat. “The ones that didn’t have good parents or the ones that have mental health issues, drug problems, homeless — where are they going?”Espaillat’s story is all too familiar to the more than 22 million people in the U.S. who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Many of them, like Espaillat, were middle-class earners.“I don’t know if I’m going to get funds before I get evicted,” Espaillat told ”Nightline” in September. “Am I going to find a job in time before everything else becomes a bigger mess? It has been emotionally devastating, physically overwhelming because I’m stressed out.”President Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion plan earlier this month that includes a one-time stimulus check of $1,400 for those who are eligible, with bonuses for families with children. If approved by Congress, the COVID-19 aid would be the third round of stimulus payments distributed throughout the country since the start of the pandemic.Espaillat lives in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey with her 4-year-old son, Ethan. She said she juggles school, parenting and a few hours of independent legal work from her bedroom while she looks for a full-time job.Meanwhile, the food that was once so abundant in her fridge has become scarce.“Most of the stuff in my fridge has been given to us by either my mom or my best friend. … I’ve been approved [for SNAP], but I have to wait for the card and that can take weeks,” she said in September. “So, that’s why I wanna go to the pantry today.”Today, four months later, Espaillat is still waiting to receive her SNAP Card, which will give her access to the federal food assistance program formerly known as food stamps. In the meantime, Espaillat has been receiving help from St. James Social Services in downtown Newark, New Jersey.The private charity relies on donations and grants to help those in need by providing everything from a food pantry and hot meals to free clothing and rent help. With only 11 employees, the charity is trying to meet the growing need in the community.“I’ve never been to a pantry before to get food, only to donate,” she said.Forty percent of people who are currently turning to food banks for help never relied on them before, according to an October 2020 study by Feeding America, the country’s largest food relief organization. The nonprofit estimated that with unemployment and poverty on the rise, over 50 million Americans were at risk of food insecurity last year.“You look at the people in line and it’s like, color, career, class — none of it matters. I’m hungry. My kid’s hungry. It doesn’t matter,” said Espaillat at the food pantry. “It’s humbling, really, to know that that could be me, and today it is me, and yesterday it wasn’t and, hopefully tomorrow, it won’t be again. But today, that’s me.”“[In] the first three months of the pandemic, we served over 30,000 people,” said Vesta Godwin Clark, who runs St. James Social Services. “Our numbers have quadrupled since the pandemic.”Clark said that when the pandemic caused shutdowns last March, her staff wasn’t paid.“We were behind two payrolls because we had no funding coming in, and I think that’s why I love them so much, because they know that somewhere, somehow, that it’s going to work out. But in the meantime, they understand why we do what we do, and it’s not about the money. I always tell [our staff] that the people that we serve, they’re in a position far worse than we are. Far worse.”For St. James employee Kendall Clark, helping others is a way to repay his own personal debt.“I was a mess. I was on drugs, I was homeless, I came here and they helped me out… This was in 1992 and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.Before the pandemic, St. James catered mostly to the elderly and low-income families. The charity says it saw a clear shift from serving a majority of working poor and homeless families to helping middle- and upper-middle-class unemployed families.“You had some who received unemployment, they received stimulus checks, but then without the stimulus checks, they can’t last on unemployment,” said Vesta Godwin Clark. “Those who are here, we know they truly have a need and no one gets turned away.”Kevin Woodley, who had worked in finance for 30 years, is one of those pantry newcomers. He comes to St. James every four weeks to collect enough food to keep his family of four going.“I work over on Wall Street, so you can imagine that when businesses shut down all our revenue went down,” said Woodley. “I’ve never needed help before. But I do need it now and this pantry has been a blessing to me and my family.”Similarly, Espaillat said that St. James helped her get out of a deep financial hole.“St. James was able to help me with my back-rent, so now I’m completely at zero — a big change from being behind six months in rent,” she said.After a devastating year of financial and emotional hardship, Espaillat shared some good news: She recently began a full-time job advocating for people facing evictions, an area of focus she knows from personal experience.“All of this has taught me that I have to have faith, I have to continue to do the work and ask for help,” said Espaillat. “Anyone out there still struggling, I hope they take comfort in my story and know that it does get better.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Bahamas pastor warns on gay marriages

first_img Share FaithLifestyleNewsRegional Bahamas pastor warns on gay marriages by: – February 21, 2013 Sharing is caring! Share Sharecenter_img Tweet 51 Views   no discussions NASSAU, Bahamas — The legalization of same sex marriage in The Bahamas could open the floodgates to requests for the legalization of other types of unions, including polygamous or incestuous ones, warned Pastor Cedric Moss, who declared that the issue should be put to the people before any decision is made.“I think if the majority of citizens in the country want same sex marriage, then same sex marriage would be the order of the day,” Moss told The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday.“If that happens I, and other faithful Christians will not support [this type of] marriage.“I would not marry a same sex couple, but I would respect that it’s what the majority wants. So for me this is an issue not for Parliament, not for courts; it’s an issue for the citizens.“And I think the same way we had a referendum on gambling, which is not as important as this one; we should have a referendum on marriage.”Moss commented on the subject after Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett predicted on Friday that the Bahamian courts will soon have to address the issue of same sex marriage.“I also have no doubt that in deciding the issue we will have respect for the decisions that emanate not only from the Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia, but also from decisions of the courts of the Unites States of America,” Barnett said.Moss acknowledged that the issue has been or is in the process of being debated in several countries around the world.“I think this discussion about homosexuality is consistent with what we see happening around the world. Countries are talking about it,” he said. “Naturally we expect that, that will happen in this country as well. This is one of the realities of living in a democracy.”He added, “The thing is once you start to remove a boundary, you say it’s no longer going to be between a man and a woman; I want it to be between two men and two women, then what about polygamy?“What about a man marrying his daughter or a boy marrying his father? Why shouldn’t they be able to do that? That’s the problem with that. These are not marriages. These are counterfeits.”Erin Greene, a human rights activist, who has championed lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) rights for years, claimed on Monday that many homosexual couples have married in some churches on the island.“The church is a non-governmental body, so a church can do what it wants. We have married gay couples in the country… because there are churches who are willing to do it,” she said.But Moss said those are not real marriages.“Those churches would not have performed marriages,” he said. “They would have performed ceremonies.“Marriage is between a man and a woman. Anything other than that is a counterfeit.”By Krystel RolleCaribbean News Nowlast_img read more

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College football 2020: Full week-by-week schedule for every Power 5 conference

first_imgThe 2020 college football schedule is starting to come into focus for the Power 5 conferences in the FBS.The Pac-12 an Big Ten canceled their fall sports seasons Tuesday, a move that means only three Power 5 conferences will have football in 2020. The ACC released its schedule. The Big 12 and SEC have held off on announcing their full schedules to this point.  MORE: Notable opt-outs for 2020 seasonSporting News will continue to update the college football schedule as those other conferences makes those decisions. Here’s a look at the 2020 college football schedule that is officially on the books. 2020 Power 5 college football scheduleSept. 10 UAB at Miami Sept. 12Clemson at Wake Forest Duke at Notre Dame Georgia Tech at Florida StateWestern Kentucky at LouisvilleSyracuse at North Carolina  N.C. State at Virginia Tech VMI at Virginia Sept. 19 Boston College at Duke Samford at Florida State UCF at Georgia Tech Miami at Louisville N.C. State at Wake Forest Virginia at Virginia Tech Syracuse at Pitt Charlotte at North CarolinaTBD: Clemson, Notre Dame Sept. 26Florida State at Miami Georgia Tech at Syracuse Louisville at Pitt Notre Dame at Wake Forest Oct. 3 North Carolina at Boston College Virginia at Clemson Virginia Tech at Duke N.C. State at Pitt Oct. 9 Georgia Tech at Louisville Oct. 10 Pitt at Boston College Miami at Clemson Duke at Syracuse Florida State at Notre Dame N.C. State at Virginia Virginia Tech at North Carolina Oct. 17 Boston College at Virginia Tech Clemson at Georgia Tech Duke at N.C. State North Carolina at Florida State Louisville at Notre Dame Pitt at Miami Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Liberty at Syracuse Oct. 24Georgia Tech at Boston CollegeSyracuse at Clemson Florida State at Louisville Notre Dame at Pitt N.C. State at North Carolina Virginia at Miami Virginia Tech at Wake Forest Oct. 31Charlotte vs. Duke Boston College at Clemson Notre Dame at Georgia Tech Virginia Tech at Louisville North Carolina at Virginia Syracuse at Wake Forest Nov. 6 Miami at N.C. State Nov. 7 Boston College at Syracuse Clemson at Notre Dame North Carolina at Duke Florida State at Pitt Louisville at VirginiaLiberty at Virginia Tech Nov. 14Notre Dame at Boston College Duke at Virginia Florida State at N.C. State Georgia Tech at Pitt Wake Forest at North Carolina Miami at Virginia Tech Nov. 20Syracuse at Louisville Nov. 21Clemson at Florida StateWake Forest at Duke Georgia Tech at Miami Liberty at N.C. StateVirginia Tech at Pitt Nov. 27 Louisville at Boston College Notre Dame at North Carolina  Nov. 28 Pitt at Clemson Duke at Georgia Tech Virginia at Florida State N.C. State at Syracuse Miami at Wake Forest  Dec. 5Boston College at Virginia Clemson at Virginia Tech Florida State at Duke Georgia Tech at N.C. State North Carolina at Miami Wake Forest at Louisville Syracuse at Notre DameDec. 12 or Dec. 19 ACC championship gamelast_img read more

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The City of Miami issues notice due to possible flooding from King Tides

first_imgOfficials in Miami have issued a community notice about the second round of King Tides that is said to take place on select dates through October 3rd. While the flooding from King tides is a reoccurring event, officials are reporting that the tides this year has been extremely high and are causing more flooding than usual, especially in low laying areas and areas with poor drainage systems.Rising water levels at the Pelican Harbor Marina have already been reported.Some reports state that water levels are expected to be 3 feet higher than normal in some areas.The City of Miami says they are making preparations for the coming floods including putting temporary water pumps and generators in place to reduce the effects of flooding.They have also created a webpage with tips on how you can keep your family and your property safe during this time.last_img read more

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‘Tell me a bedtime story’

first_imgHe instructed his knights to search far and wide, high and low, day and night to find a warrior/teacher that could instruct his knights in the art of combat and lead them into war. Day after day the King’s scouts looked for and sought after the perfect warrior/teacher without success. The King was getting along in years and he knew that the end his time on earth was growing nigh.One one rainy dismal day as the scouts returned, the trumpets sounded the song of success from afar and the people assembled. After all of the ruffles and flourishes were completed into the court of King Artus walked a young and brazen knight Sir Charles from the land of Noll with his head held high and a gaze of steel. He approached the throne of King Artus with arrogance, confidence and fearlessness. All in the court gasped with horror when the young knight did not bow or get on his knees when he stood before the King. King Artus was puzzled by this disrespectful and unprecedented behavior. He asked the young knight, “Why do you not bow and get on your knees before the throne?” “Your Highness” replied the young knight, “if you require that I bow and get on my knees to honor you I will do so willingly and immediately but it will be difficult to serve you and teach your knights the art of war and lead them into battle from my knees. However, I feel in my heart that bowing and trembling before you can never honor you as victory will.” “Ha ha ha,” laughed the King as he sized up this young, brash warrior. “I can have your head in an instant to satisfy the hunger of my dogs but you are right, you can only truly honor me when you honor this kingdom which is constantly being besieged by attackers and usurpers. Can you bring the Steelers Nation peace and victory and what do you need from me in order to accomplish these things?” The young general replied, “The first element that is needed for us to be the conqueror is to possess a strong defense.“Way far away in the land of Texarkana there is a young warrior by the name of mean Joseph of Greene who will be a great defender of the throne and will be the linchpin of our future victories.” The King replied, “I do not need or wish to know any of the details, you have the power to draft into the Army any of the soldiers that you need for us to be successful.” So off went the young leader and over the years he engaged the services of the most feared warriors that the world had ever seen.The knights of the black and gold table had names like Sir Terry of Bradshaw, Sir Lynn of Swann, Sir John of Stallworth, Sir Jack of Ham, Sir L.C. of Greewood, Sir Dwight of White and Sir Michael of Webster. Sir Charles of Noll finished his service to the King after planting the flag of the “Blackandgoldius” on the summit of “Mt. Super Bowlius.” After those resounding victories, the old grizzled general submitted his resignation to Rooney Royal Family. A new young general was appointed to lead and his name was Sir Bill of Cowher. General Cowher paid for the services of mercenaries with names like Sir Rod of Woodson, Sir Greg of Lloyd, Sir Joey of Porter, Sir Jerome of Bettis, Sir Kordell of Stewart, Sir Kevin of Greene, Sir Dermotti of Dawson, Sir Yancy of Thigpen and Sir Bam of Morris. After losing one “Mt. Super Bowlius” battle Sir Bill claimed victory in his second battle in bitterly cold land of Detroit. Time waits for no man and Sir Bill of Cowher fulfilled his obligation to the Rooney Royal Family and he too left the kingdom. The current commanding general is named Sir Michael, Lord of Tomlin. He has molded his army with old, experienced fighters from the age of Cowher with names like Sir Ben of Roethlisberger, Sir Hines of Ward, Sir Casey of Hampton, Sir Aaron of Smith, and Sir Heath of Miller. All had great stories of strength and valor to tell the new fighters with names like Sir Michael of Wallace, Sir Ziggy of Hood, Sir Antonio of Brown and one Sir Santonio of Holmes now in exile. Sir Michael Lord of Tomlin also led his charges to “Mt. Super Bowlius” twice, planting the flag on the summit once. After being defeated in the mountains of Denver heading toward “Mt. Super Bowlius,” returning tired and beaten, he banished his second in command, Sir Bruce from the Kingdom of Arians to the domed city of Indianapolis. Tell me a bedtime story, tell me a bedtime story not about close defeats but no excuse victories.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741.) Listen my children and you shall hear of a tale of daring from both far and near. A long time ago in a land far, far away there was a man who ruled the kingdom of “Blackandgoldia.” King Artus of Rooney was a very wise and kind ruler who ruled his subjects with a firm but very gentle hand. However, time after time his small kingdom faced attack after attack from rogue kingdom seekers and bands of soldiers from all points His knights were fearless and loyal to the king but untrained and he knew in his heart that they would never hold up the chalice of victory. He decided that once and for all he was going to establish borders that no man would dare cross. last_img read more

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